Friday, February 7, 2014

Scottish Raisin Bread

This bread and recipe was given to us recently from my mom and has become one of my husband's favorites. Sometime in the past few months, I discovered the idea to toast sweet bread and add a little butter (I know, I'm probably a little slow!). Well, this bread is a perfect candidate and is just the thing for a snack or with a cup of tea (insert favorite hot beverage).  When I toasted this bread, I let it go a little longer because it is so dense and I wanted it a little crispy. Was it ever good! The toasting really brings out the sweetness of the raisins and adds more flavor to the nuts and oats. You could also add some jam or other toppings, but I don't feel it needs anything else.

I have not found a recipe quite like this before and was excited to share it here. The only place I was able to find a somewhat similar recipe was over at Always In The Kitchen. As the author of that site noted, this recipe may not be Scottish- but it sounds nice, and Scotland brings to mind oats and raisins (or currants), right? My recipe has much more oats and a little more sugar (still is not very sweet)- but these recipes do not have any oil. For a stronger molasses flavor, I used about 1/2 black strap molasses. So put your spin on it and give it a try! (By the way, if you don't have a toaster oven, be very careful trying to toast sweet breads in a regular toaster without some type of a sleeve for toasting as the slice will probably fall apart and you will be burned trying to remove it.)

Makes 2 loaves


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/3 cups buttermilk or soured milk
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (I used quick oats and it was fine)
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins, dried currants or craisins, or a mix
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F- (25 degrees lower if using glass baking pans).
  • Mix eggs with sugar in a large mixing bowl, then add in the milk and molasses.
  • Sift the dry ingredients together and add into the wet mixture.
  • After mixture starts to come together, add in the nuts and dried fruit.
  • Divide the batter between 2 greased loaf pans.
  • Bake for approximately 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out dry- start checking around 50 minutes if top of bread appears less moist

*My mom told me, after I originally posted this recipe, that she got it from What's Cooking At Myrtle cookbook by Levia Lerch. I increased the liquids since the bread seemed too dry. If you find it takes too long to finish baking, you can decrease the liquid to 2 cups buttermilk.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Easy but Amazing Bolognese Sauce (Meat Sauce)

This is the sauce to make when you are short on time and need something full of flavor. Although I have typically kept a stock of store-bought spaghetti sauce on hand and add in herbs and other items to give it more flavor, I have been looking for recipes to make more things from scratch and be more in control of the ingredients in our food. When I saw this sauce recipe from Kristin Porter (Best-Ever Bolognese Sauce), I was impressed with how easy it looked and is similar to how I made some homemade sauces in the past. I have adapted this recipe and was so pleased with the flavors- totally worth a little extra effort over opening a jar and pouring it in a pot. 

  • 1 1/2 pound ground beef (or may use part or all Italian sausage)
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped (1 cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (or a little more)
  • 1 cup half and half or milk (not lowfat)
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
  • 2 tsp Italian seasoning, crushed in palm before adding
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp salt (or adjusted to taste)
  • 1 pound pasta of choice
  • Brown meat and vegetables together in large covered pot until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender. If meat is very fatty, you may drain off/sop up some of the extra fat.
  • Add in the remaining ingredients (except the pasta) and cook uncovered on medium-high for about 10-15 minutes or until the sauce has thickened somewhat. If it is too bubbly, keep lid on partly so moisture can still escape. 
  • Cook pasta according to directions and then drain, adding some of the sauce to mix with the pasta and flavor it prior to serving. Serve with parmesan/romano cheese and a little oregano sprinkled on top.